Dark Cloud of Lane Kiffin Era Continues to Hang Over Tennessee

Dark Cloud of Lane Kiffin Era Continues to Hang Over Tennessee

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He will never have a bronze statue of his likeness adorning the entrance at Neyland Stadium.

His name will never by emboldened on a street sign on the Tennessee campus.

He will never again be cheered by 100,000 adoring fans as he runs through the “T” as game time approaches at Shields-Watkins Field.

Lane Kiffin TennesseeWe don’t have hurricanes in East Tennessee, so much for damaging a storm’s reputation, although Lane Kiffin’s reign of 408 days as head coach of the Vols has left a trail of destruction unlike any that had come before him.  Damage estimates continue to be reassessed, while the final toll may not be known for several years.

But let us never forget the dark days and nights left behind by the disgraced former coach and as history shows, if we forget, we are doomed to repeat.  In this light, I would like to suggest that Kiffin’s name be added to each and every dark cloud that forever passes over the Tennessee campus.

So how does one earn such a deserving accolade?  Let’s take a look back before we examine the present.

Tennessee A.D. Mike Hamilton hired Kiffin on December 1, 2008.  It didn’t take the new coach of the Volunteers long to begin making waves, by first assembling a staff that included fellow henchman Ed Orgeron and brother-in-law David Reaves.

Kiffin’s brashness came to a head at a National Signing Day event when he accused Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer of cheating  in the recruitment of Tennessee signee Nu’Keese Richardson.  Kiffin was later reprimanded by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive for violating SEC conduct rules with his comments and ultimately issued an apology to Meyer, Florida A.D. Jeremy Foley and the University of Florida.

Kiffin’s assault on fellow SEC coaches continued with jabs at South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier as well as Alabama’s Nick Saban, thus painting a bright Big Orange target on the University of Tennessee.

The reign of terror continued with the now infamous hostess-gate incident, where two UT hostesses drove to South Carolina for a high-school game involving Corey Miller, Brandon Willis and Marcus Lattimore.  All three were players that Kiffin was recruiting.  Kiffin also reportedly told Alshon Jeffery that if he went to South Carolina, his future would be pumping gas.

The Kiffin era came to a screeching halt on January 12, 2010 when he abruptly accepted the head coaching position at Southern California, replacing Pete Carroll.

Tennessee hired Derek Dooley as their new head man, left to pick up all the broken pieces of debris left behind by Kiffin and company.

Among the damage left behind is Kiffin’s “stellar” recruiting class of 2009.  Of the eight 4 or 5 star recruits in the class, Marsalis Teague and Eric Gordon are the only two left on the current roster.

Since Kiffin’s departure, the Vols have seen the additional departures of Bryce Brown, Jerod Askew, David Oku, Darren Myles and most recently the voluntary withdrawal of All-SEC safety, Janzen Jackson.  Not to mention Nu’Keese Richardson, who was dismissed under Kiffin in an armed robbery incident.

All this in the past, now to the present.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011, Tennessee finally received their long awaited letter in the mail from the NCAA.

The 26 page Notice of Allegations, primarily focused on basketball recruiting violations, calls into question football recruiting violations levied against Kiffin and his assistants.

Among the allegations are charges of impermissible telephone contact, impermissible off-campus contacts with high-school administrators and most damning of all, a failure by Kiffin to promote an atmosphere of compliance and a failure to monitor the activities regarding compliance of several assistant football coaches and an administrator involved with the football program who reported directly or indirectly to Kiffin.  In other simpler terms, Kiffin and his staff were running wild and out of control while at Tennessee.

It would appear that Kiffin is least as big of a target of the NCAA as Tennessee, if not more.  Vol fans can only hope and wait that the perpetrator will in turn garner the wrath and the brunt of the blow from the NCAA.

Tennessee has 90 days to respond to the Letter of Allegations and has a date with the NCAA in Indianapolis, IN set for June 10-11, 2011.

Brighter days are ahead for the Vols, but as I look to the sky on this dark wintry day in East Tennessee, I see the dark clouds and can’t help but think of Lane Kiffin.





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Comments 8

  1. Jon
    Commented : 3 years ago

    Lane Kiffin was a phony. With that being said, I kind of miss him being in the SEC…for some dumb reason.

    • Michael Ellis
      Commented : 3 years ago

      Kinda like the villain being killed off on a hit TV series. You hated him, but he did keep things interesting in many ways. In the real world and in the SEC, there are very real consequences to reprehensible actions that can ruin storied traditional programs. In Hollywood (where Kiffin now resides) the drama just adds to the ratings and adds millions to the bottom line. The two don’t mix and I for one am glad he’s gone and never to return, at least with an orange power T on his shirt. The SEC deserves better.

  2. jim
    Commented : 3 years ago

    Good aticle Michael – there is one thing that bodes well for UT in the current carnage left by Lane-change. The NCAA crosshairs seem to be pointed pointed more toward Kiffin than Tennessee (as it should be). Thank goodness, “failure of institutional control” did not appear, primarily to the good work of David Blackburn, Senior Assoc. AD Football Admin. who was on record in letting Kiffin know if something was not allowed (not that it mattered to Kiffin). It seems that since the cancer has been cut out and that Dooley is serious about doing things the right way, the NCAA ax will fall out in la-la land. Now as for basketball, unfortunately it’s not over….

    • Agree with your post completely. Kiffin is likely to be finished before he turns 40. I think NCAA would like to wash their hands Lane and his type. Look how much he adds to their workload. Nobody wants to work that hard, lol!! Theirs always reality TV, we’ve all had a sneak preview over the last few years.

  3. Clay Jackson
    Commented : 3 years ago

    The Current UT team should not be punished for sins of someone who has long moved on. THE PLAYERS did not commit the violation, go after the coaches who did the violation. I only hope the NCAA is smart enough to do this or they will further damage their creditability.
    We can only hope some of the self-imposed sanctions on the Basketball team will “lighten” the punishment that is imposed by the NCAA. Time will tell.

  4. Don’t worry UT fans, Dooley will save you.

    Lane Kiffin is a great example of what you don’t want a young coach to be, whereas Derek Dooley has everything you want a young coach to have: passion, intensity, determination and pride for that school. He fits the mold for an SEC coach perfectly. He also seems to be a very classy, intelligent guy.

    So don’t worry, all this Kiffin mess will blow over eventually. Dooley will have you playing in SEC championships again very soon.

  5. Any publicity is good publicity is wrong!! Lane